Hi everyone. I'm still here! Are you?
As some of you know, my dad passed away last year. My sister and I put everything on hold to care for him during the final year of his life, a decision we will never regret. Thank you to everyone who was so supportive during this time -- we felt every ounce of love you were sending us.
I've recently returned to my own work, and I'm happy to announce that my next picture book, a biography of neuroscientiest Rita Levi-Montalcini, will be available from Philomel in Spring 2020. It's the biggest project I've ever undertaken, and I'm excited to tackle it.
Through everything, my baby penguin books have kept chugging along, for which I am very grateful. In their honor, I'm sponsoring a giveaway. Follow the link to enter, just in time for Mother's Day!


Guys, my magnum opus BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA is now a board book! It's available for preorder at Amazon & B&N -- and plunks down with a satisfying thud on the shelves of your favorite indie bookseller November 17th. I'll be sponsoring giveaways on Twitter / FB during the next few weeks, so follow me there for super penguin swag.

ALSO -- Thursday at 11am, I'm reading and drawing for visitors at Children's Museum Of Manhattan. This is your last chance to see me do my thing in NYC for some time, so come! The next year will be all about buckling down on new books...


As you do your holiday shopping, won't you consider a MUGuion? Available -- along with other delightful drinkware for adults and kids -- from The Guion Zone.

xo, Melissa



People, BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA has arrived! Please consider getting a copy, because we have...a lot of them.

And The Penguion is going on tour. If I'm in your area, won't you come down? I promise big fun!!

Jan 5 WORD Brooklyn
Jan 11 Greenlight Brooklyn
Jan 12 powerHouse on 8th Brooklyn
  Books Of Wonder NYC
Jan 18 The Red Balloon Baltimore, MD
Jan 25 The Blue Bunny Dedham, MA
Feb 1 [words] Maplewood, NJ
  Town Book Store Westfield, NJ
Feb 8 Boulevard Books & Cafe Brooklyn
Feb 13 Clinton Book Shop Clinton, NJ
Feb 22 The Children's Bookstore Baltimore, MD
Feb 28 Hooray For Books Alexandria, VA
Mar 1 Winchester Book Gallery Winchester, VA
Mar 8 Bernards Township Library Basking Ridge, NJ
Mar 15-29 California! TBD
Apr 26 Farley's Bookshop New Hope, PA
May 8 RJ Julia Booksellers Madison, CT

I'm always adding to the calendar, so check back if your area isn't listed. You can even propose an event on Togather!

If you're still reading, maybe you want to check out my first-ever podcast interview with lovely Matthew Winner, too. Someone actually talked to me for an hour.

Wishing you a very happy 2014!

x, Melissa


Nelson Mandela and I shared a birthday, so I always felt a special, superstitious connection to him.  (I also share a birthday with Vin Diesel but I have no superstition about that.)

While I hold Mandela in my heart, and am sad about his death yesterday, I don't want to let today go by without observing that it was exactly one year ago that BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! came out, and I became a published author/illustrator. Such an incredible year!

So with respect to my birthday brother: Happy Author-versary to me. And to celebrate, here's a video from the painting of my new book. Share it with the little artists in your life!

x, M.



Met some real, live penguins in June!!  More on that soon.  In the meantime, enjoy a picture while I test my blog's new email function.  Thanks for your patience! x, M.


Some quick updates from The Penguion™:

The BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! board book (those heavy-duty ones for babies) is available for pre-order!

Children's Book Week is almost here! I've got a bunch of events:

May 15, 6:30pm -- Glen Ridge Library, Glen Ridge, NJ

May 16, 4pm -- Darien Library, Darien, CT

May 18, 11am -- Illustrator Battle @ Greenlight Bookstore (w/Sophie Blackall, Melissa Iwai, Sergio Ruzzier, Selina Alko, George O’Connor, Betsy Lewin & Paul O. Zelinsky)

May 18, 2-4pm -- Queens Museum of Art (w/Sergio Ruzzier)

And finally...my second book will be coming out in January 2014! Stay tuned...

Hope you had a great WORLD PENGUIN DAY!

-- Melissa


Wednesday is my last NYC reading of Baby Penguins Everywhere!

11:00 a.m., 2/27 @ the St. Agnes Library (Upper West Side).

I read & draw. You draw. Everyone gets stickers. It's the best.

P.S. If you don't like to draw, come anyway and see what a $9.8 million-dollar facelift looks like. The building, not me.


The deadline for my second baby penguins book is a few weeks away! I'm taking a break from freaking out to share some news:

I just visited my old school in Baltimore to show off my first book.

On the way there, I dropped in at Children's Book World in Haverford, PA, which turns out to be a major BPE stronghold.

I've added some big events to my calendar (in NYC, NJ & Westchester)

The NYPL (the library, not the cops) just featured me on their tumblr.

That's it for now. I leave you with some snowy goodness as the blizzard hits. Stay warm!


Today I paid a visit to one of my favorite NYPL branches, the Fort Washington Library.
One of 39 original Carnegie branches, it has served patrons including Lou Gehrig, Maria Callas, Ralph Ellison, Marianne Moore, and Jacob Javits. No pressure!

This was my branch library when I lived in the Heights. It was renovated while I lived there and now has one of the loveliest children's rooms in NYC. It's always in use.

(OK, there are no kids in the last pic. I waited for them to exit because...permissions.)

A flock of bitties from toddlers to middle schoolers showed up for BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! It's always interesting to read to a wide age range. One kid is eating your crayon while another wants to talk about the themes of your book, or your drawing technique.

Library manager Jennifer Zarr gave a lovely introduction; after we read the book, I shared some original artwork and sketches. The kids liked feeling the weight of the watercolor paper. I told them my paintings were sent to China to be copied and bound into a book, which was shipped back to the US on a boat, then carried by truck to bookstores and libraries. It seemed just as bonkers to them as it does to me.

Next we we all drew and colored penguins (except for one kid who was set on drawing Power Rangers, but that's cool.)

They were good collaborators.

I was touched by how many kids made pictures for their siblings.

It was such a pleasure to do an author activity at a library where I used to take my own newborn daughter. Thank you so much, Fort Washington, for having me!



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